Nasana Bajracharya

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Published On: July 20, 2017 11:33 AM NPT By: Nasana Bajracharya

Adding value to existing businesses

Adding value to existing businesses

Well who doesn’t have Facebook these days and surely enough updating status and checking-in are mundane. But, what if you could gain points for updating a status?

Chitooo, a mobile-application launched recently by Amage, offers its users to get points on the basis of their status. Depending on the type of status, you will earn points that can later be redeemed at various Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) tied up with Chitooo.

Co-founders of Chiitooo — Saujanya Acharya, Prachet Sharma and Aashwas Parajuli—came up with the idea after they realized that people chose to shop in branded fancy stores, but were not aware of the stores in their vicinity. On the other hand, even the SMEs nearby were inactive in online media promotion.

Chitooo has put promoting business for SMEs as its priority all the while giving the users information regarding best deals they can get in their area. These deals are exclusive only to Chitooo and the points you have collected can be redeemed later. “Restaurants have ‘buy one get one free’ offers or discounts, but, they remain only on their happy-hour boards, we want to be a platform where these offline offers can get an online platform,” Aashwas shared.

Stores offering foods and beverages along with services like beauty parlor, saloons, bike servicing, cinema halls, go-carting, archery, clothing and fashion have partnered with Chitooo for now. The point you collect from updating in Facebook can be redeemed from any of these stores.

“Connecting people via Facebook is the more natural way of promotion in today’s date as it’s a user-generated promotion. A person on average updates status in a day or two, and we’ve targeted them to create a chain of promotion. It’s diversified royalty,” Aashwas said.

Chitooo officially launched in July, but they had been working in the background for about a year now. They launched a prototype of their business model on January 2017 and after March they started beta and alpha testing of the app among students of the Kathmandu University School of Management (KUSOM) and the stores nearby.

They first started with recharge cards and smaller offers before linking Facebook to the app to increase users’ involvement.

There were only three people when Chitooo started. The team now has 15 members and they are currently operating from an incubation center ideAction in KUSOM. Saujanya and Aashwas are KUSOM alumni where as Prachet earned his degree from Scotland.

All three of the co-founders were working full-time jobs before they thought of investing their full time on developing the app.

It took the trio constant brainstorming and consultations—in national and international level—to give shape to their idea. Stating that the user response was positive, Prachet said they later updated things and changed user interface to make the app more interactive and user-friendly.

They focused on developing an in-house tech team, led by Shilu Shrestha, to cater its users more effectively. It is also easy for users to report crashes in the app while their clients have a portal of their own where they can post offers and check the real-time data of user involvement. The offers put up at present are free but they might introduce subscription model in the future.

When you first install the app, you are awarded with 20 points as default. Gradually as you get more engaged, you can earn more points. If you post a status you will get 10 points, 20 points is for uploading a photo, 40 points if you check-in and 100 points if you check-in with a photo.

Depending on the things you buy or post, the app also recommends you similar places and palettes to try from, using behavioral analytics. Right now, the application is only on android platform, but the plan to approach iOS is under the pipeline, according to the trio.

They plan to double their current users and clients down the line, and collaborate with other types of shops. The team that managed initial investment from friends and family are now planning to make the app international. They believe their commitment towards their work will eventually bear fruit in the coming years.

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